Mets still need to re-sign Marcus Stroman even after his opt-out

JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 22: Marcus Stroman #0 of the New York Mets reacts against the St. Louis Cardinals during a Grapefruit League spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 22: Marcus Stroman #0 of the New York Mets reacts against the St. Louis Cardinals during a Grapefruit League spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman opting out creates a ton of uncertainty for the 2020 season and the future.

The New York Mets came into the shortened 2020 season with World Series aspirations. They had a stacked lineup, a revamped bullpen, and a rotation that was going to include Marcus Stroman from start to finish. Unfortunately, things have not gone too well for the 2020 Mets and they don’t appear to get any better.

With the news of Stroman opting out, the Mets are in trouble. Michael Wacha just went on the Injured List on Sunday and the depth in the rotation is just getting worse by the day. Of course, I respect Stroman’s decision and wish him nothing but the best.

However, the Mets now are going to have to make some sort of move. This could either be by moving Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo to the rotation, or it could be making a trade for a starter elsewhere. The rotation they have now is Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, David Peterson, and a Wacha replacement which has yet to be announced.

This is just not good enough to make a deep postseason run. The safest bet for the Mets to make is probably using Robert Gsellman as a starting pitcher for now. If Edwin Diaz and the rest of the bullpen can become what the Mets hoped them to be, then they can move Lugo to the rotation.

They should also be scouring the trade market and going after starters like Matthew Boyd and Joe Musgrove who might not cost them a top prospect and can help them compete for this year and the future.

In terms of Stroman’s future, the Mets should do whatever they can to re-sign him.

The rotation after this year has deGrom, Matz, Peterson, and two unknown spots. deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, great to have him in the rotation. Matz has been inconsistent his entire career, and cannot be the second-best rotation arm on a contender. Peterson has made three starts in the major leagues and we just don’t know how good he is quite yet. Noah Syndergaard underwent Tommy John Surgery in March and is expected back in April or May but you never know with that kind of surgery.

The Mets simply can’t bank on Syndergaard to return back to his 2016 form when he was a top pitcher in baseball.  Because of this, I believe the Mets need Stroman badly. While he may not be an ace, Stroman is certainly a quality number two or three starter and has fit in nicely with his Mets teammates. Remember, when the Mets acquired Stroman they went on a huge run.

The big issue with re-signing Stroman is the Mets history of not wanting to spend money. The Mets could have re-signed Zack Wheeler this past offseason, but never even gave him an offer. Stroman will likely get at least as much money as Wheeler, if not more. Wheeler signed a 5-year, $118 million-dollar contract with the Phillies, $23.6 million dollars annually.

Wheeler got this money with no all-star appearances, no playoff appearances, and no consistent full season in his career. He also had Tommy John Surgery which kept him out of action for two full seasons. Stroman on the other hand, is younger than Wheeler, was an all-star last year, has made two starts in win or go home games in the playoffs for the Blue Jays, and has never undergone Tommy John. Stroman has had injury problems, but the biggest injury he’s had was a torn ACL back in 2015. An injury he came back from that same season.

When Stroman came to the Mets, it was certainly an odd fit. Stroman is a ground ball pitcher and the Mets have an awful defensive team. Stroman’s numbers got worse when he was a Met and part of that can be due to the bad defense the Mets have. However, Stroman is still better than the other options for them to go after. The 2020 free agent starting pitchers are headlined by Stroman, Trevor Bauer, and James Paxton.

Trevor Bauer is certainly an interesting target but has recently said he only wants to go after one-year deals in free agency. While that can be helpful for the 2021 season, he won’t be locked up for long, and the Mets should try to get someone for more than one year to pair with deGrom at the top of the rotation.

James Paxton is the other big name in the free agent class. The issue I have with Paxton, is his inability to stay healthy. Paxton has yet to make 30 starts in a season. While he has been just as good as Stroman if not better when healthy, it’s too much of a risk to take on.

At the 2019 trade deadline, the Mets traded pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson for Stroman. The intent was to get a year and a half of Stroman. Potentially, the Mets will trade two prospects for only half a year of Stroman that didn’t even result in a playoff berth. At the time, it seemed like a good trade for both sides.

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The Mets were a win-now team and were trying to get someone to replace Wheeler in the rotation. Because the Mets now don’t have Wheeler or their depth, they really have to re-sign Stroman.